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06.20.09

Does Microsoft Blackmail Sub-notebooks Vendors?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Law, Microsoft at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Newer evidence suggests that Microsoft abuses its monopoly and Groklaw opines that regulators must intervene

IN WHAT seems like a bit of a surprise, Groklaw claims to have found “The Smoking Gun” regarding “Linux on Netbooks”. This is actually old news to many Web sites (we covered it in [1, 2]), but for the purpose of documenting Microsoft’s behind-the-scenes tactics, this may prove crucial. Pamela Jones believes that there is ground for antitrust action here.

Is there no regulatory body that can get Microsoft’s fat fanny off of Linux so it can get some air? Instead the DOJ are investigating *Google*? What Microsoft is reportedly doing is a pimple on the antitrust regulators’ noses. We see it. Why can’t you? Where are you? Please don’t wait until Linux is totally crushed.

Let us customers choose what we prefer from a fair and even playing field, please. I’d like to buy the products that are being squashed. A lot of us would like to. And we are not being allowed to get the products that we desire. I don’t want Microsoft software. I’d like a choice. And I shouldn’t have to buy a netbook with Microsoft on it and install Linux myself. I will, but I should not have to.

Groklaw does remark on the “Better with Windows” marketing blitz, so by the way, for those who still believe that ASUS recommends Windows, see this. It must be an old endorsement scam. This too falls under “deceptive marketing” clauses and should be investigated by the likes of the ASA.

In addition to all this, as we showed before, Microsoft is now strong-arming OEMs so that they artificially cripple the hardware they offer to all buyers (GNU/Linux users included). This is brutal, and this is why many OEMs desperately try to escape a dependency on Microsoft. There may be another violation of laws here — collusion (price-fixing) that Intel and Microsoft are said to be responsible for. But Microsoft does not quite stop there. Oh, no it doesn’t. Check out this new report from The Register.

Microsoft forbids changes to Windows 7 netbook wallpaper

Netbook users running Windows 7 Starter Edition better learn to enjoy Microsoft’s default desktop background, because that’s all they’re getting.

Windows 7 Starter Edition not only blocks end-users from swapping the original Windows-provided wallpaper, colors, and sound schemes – OEMs and partners aren’t allowed into the personalization options either.

Microsoft’s fierce control goes further than just hardware. The predatory rules are also telling OEMs what wallpapers they are allowed to use (how to deliver their products that they already paid for), just as in the old days Microsoft used contracts to tell them what they can and cannot install. These tactics were notably used to exclude Netscape, among other competitors. Even the arrangement of icons was restricted and policed by Microsoft.

Those who are bothered by flagrant disregard for the law may wish to report this (I too will post a complaint). As very recent history teaches us, regulators rarely do their job unless they are pressured to do so. And even then, they remain lazy and susceptible to lulling. Who can ever regulate the regulators?

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